NEW DELHI: In a bid to garner crucial ranking points to qualify for the World Championships, India’s top cyclists will be heading to Germany for an extended camp and will also be taking part in at least three events in Europe.Four senior male cyclists and one junior and a couple of girls will be part of the camp and they will be based in Cottbus. They will be accompanied by two coaches — RK Sharma and Gautamani Devi — for the duration of the stay. The cyclists are Esow Alben, L Ronaldo Singh, Jemsh Singh, Rojit Singh and junior cyclist David Beckham. The female cyclists will be decided soon.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian cyclists have not had any foreign competition since 2019. They have been training in New Delhi and recently took part in the National Track championship in Hyderabad. But points for the Worlds need to accrued from UCI Class I events which are scarce in Asia. Hence this decision was necessary. The Track Cycling World Championships is scheduled to be held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan from October 13-17.
“In Europe, there are races almost every weekend. We can pick and choose which tournaments will best suit us and plan accordingly. Having a base there helps us as the athletes will also get a chance to train with the Germany team,” Cycling Federation of India (CFI) chairman Onkar Singh told this daily. The team needs a minimum of four tournament points and the plan as of now is to take part in three events in Europe and the Asian Championships in Kazakhstan in June. “Training In Germany will greatly help us improve our level as well after this long enforced gap. We were making real good progress but this virus has affected our momentum and that is why we had to take this step. The hostel is inside the academy premises and the velodrome is only a 100 metres away,” the chairman added.
The first competition for India’s cyclists will be the Track Cycling Nations Cup at Hong Kong in May. As far as an international competition in India, the UCI calendar has a spot available in October during which the CFI plans to host the Track Asia Cup. Also there are plans to conduct an international tournament in Hyderabad after the successful completion of the 72nd Track National Cycling Championship at the SATS Velodrome, Osmania University, Hyderabad.